Whoever it is in charge of the recall desk here seems to be on holiday, at least I can’t find him when I need him. I’m often left searching for an expression, a word, a phrase — sometimes even an expression that I had within minutes  I’d read or heard just before. They are not all simple items: some are complex relations. Here are a few examples, from simple word recalls to complex negotiations, all from various phone conversations:

1. “frozen dinners…[pause]…Swanson”

intending: TV dinners — I had heard this expression the day before


2. “anything named inositol is … really too much”

intending: anything named inositol should arouse skepticism

(complex notion)

3. “[these tourists] figured this guy will … have an answer”

intended: they figured this guy will be sympathetic


4. cholesterol and pills

intended: medication


5. “You shouldn’t be flagellating yourself”

intending: you shouldn’t beat yourself up/punish yourself

(formula or word)

6. “If you don’t um…”

intending: if you don’t interview well


7. “He um … contracted with a detective’

intending: he hired a detective


8. “not to kill him but to … [thinking: manipulate?]

intending: mutilate


9. “he stole that beautiful…”

intended: Gainsborough (couldn’t recall Reynolds either)


10. “a jar … not a jar…of pills…”

intended: bottle (I didn’t believe that this was the correct word when it was suggested — this also happens often)


3 Responses to “vacation”

  1. Dorothy Ross Says:

    “contracted” with a detective… The process of turning a noun into a verb is common in English, and new words are constantly being formed. One of my favorites is “The last two cars will not platform at the next station.” However, the particular phrase “contracted with a detective” is not very common. I think of “contracted with” more in reference to a company than to an individual.


    • rob Says:

      One of my friends thinks I’ve become suddenly poetic. She thinks my quirks might catch on. I’m voting for “I’m stillin’ here” and “I’ve never here, have you?” I’m for dropping “be” altogether.

      • Soren Says:

        I also have been accused of poetry, with my damaged speech. It’s funny, because I deliberately wrote poetry when I was healthy. Now the stuff that strikes people as poetry is really, really not. This is the most important distinction: two years ago, I wrote poetry that was distilled down, finally crystal clear (I hope). But now, I only have one expression (mostly). It’s not poetry, because it’s not chosen from many; only one.

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